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Quality Associates, Inc. and Smurfit-Stone Announce Joint Venture Agreement
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Chicago, Illinois, USA, 27 February 2007 -- /PRNewswire/ -- Quality Associates, Inc. and Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation have executed a definitive agreement to form a joint venture and operating agreement between the two companies, it was announced today. The teaming of Quality Associates and Smurfit-Stone provides consumer products and retail customers with a high-quality, first-tier Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) partner called Quality Associates, L.L.C., that offers complete, turn key packaging and display solutions.

This unique partnership blends the core competencies of both organizations. Smurfit-Stone will provide all design and graphics services, packaging materials, display components, and business development support. Quality Associates will supply value-added design and packaging services such as assembly, carton packing, shrink wrap, blister sealing, labeling, bundling, and warehousing. All services and solutions will be provided under MBE tier 1 spending guidelines as the joint venture will be a Minority Owned Business Enterprise.

"The most compelling part of this alliance is that it is squarely focused at a critical customer need," said Steve Klinger, Smurfit-Stone president and chief operating officer. "The best consumer packaged goods companies (CPGs) and leading retailers are looking for opportunities to enter into strategic relationships with Minority Business Enterprises that have a verifiable track record of success and a robust menu of services that meet targeted needs. Our combined strengths enable us to better serve the growing needs of CPGs and retailers looking to connect with fewer suppliers who can do more for them while delivering an outstanding price-value equation."

"This is a proud moment in our history and fits with our commitment to consistently reinvent our company in ways that better serve the changing needs of our customers," said Delores Epps, chief executive officer and founder of Quality Associates. "A single point of responsibility and accountability will allow our customers to achieve greater efficiency in their sourcing efforts and help them create a strong point of difference in the marketplace with world-class display and packaging solutions."

Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation

Smurfit-Stone's innovative packaging solutions help its customers to grow their businesses and profits. As North America's premier packaging company, Smurfit-Stone (NASDAQ:SSCC) is the industry's leading integrated manufacturer of paperboard and paper-based packaging. Smurfit-Stone also is one of the world's largest paper recyclers. The company has led the industry in safety performance every year since 2001 and conducts its business in compliance with the environmental, health, and safety principles of the American Forest & Paper Association. Smurfit-Stone operates approximately 180 facilities and employs approximately 25,200 people.

Quality Associates, Inc.

Since 1987, Quality Associates has provided solutions in display management, contract manufacturing, assembly, distribution, and warehousing. Quality Associates is a privately-held, minority-owned business enterprise located within a Federal Economic Empowerment Zone in Cincinnati, Ohio. With operations currently in Cincinnati and North Carolina, Quality Associates' more than 450 associates offer comprehensive display and retail packaging, fulfillment, and project management services.

Source: Smurfit-Stone



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